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Iran News Round Up July 26, 2012

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syria
syria (Photo credit: themua)

A selection of the latest news stories and editorials published in Iranian news outlets, compiled by Ali Alfoneh, Ahmad Majidyar and Michael Rubin
 
(E) = Article in English

Diplomacy

  • Mohammad-Reza Tabesh: “We must support the government of Syria, which is at the frontline of the struggle against Israel… But we should support it as long as the government of Syria does not treat the people of Syria badly and the rights of the people are not violated.”
  • Ali-Reza Mahjoub: “Survival of the Syrian government is in the interest of our region.”
  • Jafar Qaderi: “The government of Syria… must continue the path of reform, enforce the popular will, and respect the popular vote.”
  • Fatemeh Alia: “We must support the trend of reform in Syria.”
  • Mousa-al-Reza Servati: “We oppose the West because of belief that any reform must take place based on the choice of the people and implemented by the people of Syria. People can achieve whatever their wishes through elections”
  • Amir-Hossein Qazizadeh: “What we see in Syria… is a domestic Syrian issue and intervention in internal affairs of states is incorrect and illegal…” 
  • [E] The Indian media reported that the country’s government has decided to attend the 16th heads-of-state summit of the Non-Aligned Movement (NAM) in Tehran at the highest level, and that Prime Minister Manmohan Singh will represent New Delhi in the high profile meeting.
  • [E] Iran and Russia lambasted the western and Arab states for their interferences in the internal affairs of Syria, and called on them to stop unconstructive acts in the Muslim country.

Military and Security

Syrian Civil War sees increase in combat

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Sunday, July 22, 2012

Syrian activists say security forces have attacked rebels in the capital Damascus with helicopters and tanks, while rebels launched an offensive against the government in the northern city of Aleppo.

The activists say government troops used helicopter gunships and tank fire to try to drive rebels out of the Damascus neighborhoods of Barzeh and Mazzeh. Syrian state news agency SANA denied that helicopters were deployed and insisted the capital was “normal” as security forces chased what it called “terrorist” remnants from the streets.

Meanwhile, a rebel commander appeared in an Internet video, announcing that the battle to liberate the commercial hub of Aleppo has begun. Witnesses reported street battles in several districts including Salaheddine and Sakhour.

Elsewhere, Turkish officials said Syrian rebels seized another border crossing between the two countries on Sunday, taking control of the Bab al-Salama complex from Syrian troops. Rebels captured the Syrian side of another crossing (Bab al-Hawa) on the Turkish border last week.

But, Iraqi officials said Syrian insurgents withdrew from the Rabiya border crossing with Iraq overnight, allowing Syrian troops to reclaim it. Rebels remained in control of the Syrian side of the Albu Kamal crossing with Iraq.

Aleppo had been largely untouched by the 16-month uprising against Syrian PresidentBashar al-Assad. It is home to Syrian elites and merchants who have benefited from Mr. Assad’s authoritarian rule, but recently has seen an increase in protests against his deadly crackdown on the rebellion.

Syrian state television broadcast an image of Mr. Assad meeting with his new army chief of staff. It said the Syrian president met General Ali Ayyoub on Sunday and gave him instructions. Mr. Assad promoted his previous army chief of staff to defense minister last week, after a Damascus bomb attack killed the sitting defense minister and three other top security officials. Read the rest of this entry »

Syrian Tribal Networks and their Implications for the Syrian Uprising

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Publication: Terrorism Monitor Volume: 10 Issue: 11

June 1, 2012 05:44 PM Age: 32 min

By: Carole A. O’Leary, Nicholas A. Heras

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(Source: Khaled Abdullah Ali Al Mahdi/Reuters)

Sunni Arab tribalism has a significant socio-cultural, political, and security impact on the current uprising in Syria, with strong implications for post-Assad governance formation. Tribalism has fueled unrest throughout Syria, including in places such as Dera’a, where mass opposition demonstrations began on March 15, 2011, in the eastern city of Deir al-Zor on the Euphrates River, and in the suburbs of Homs and Damascus, where some of the fiercest combat between the Syrian military and armed opposition groups has occurred. Millions of rural and urban Syrians express an active tribal identity and tribal affiliation is used extensively to mobilize the political and armed opposition against the Assad government as well as to organize paramilitary forces in support of the Syrian regime. Both the Syrian opposition and the Assad government recognize the political importance of the tribal networks that cross Syria and extend into neighboring countries. As a result, the support of Syria’s tribes is a strategic goal for both the Syrian government and the Syrian opposition.

Tribal Networks – The Social Demographic Impact of Tribalism in Syria

The Syrian Ba’ath Party has traditionally sought to undermine the independence of the country’s tribes through intimidation, infiltration, and dependence. These aggressive policies continued under the Assad government and were exacerbated by decades of economic stagnation and the near total collapse of the rural economy of regions in southern and eastern Syria due to drought, corrupt use of water resources and mismanagement of croplands where many tribesmen resided (Jadaliyya, February 16). In spite of these severe difficulties, tribal networks in Syria are, ironically, better equipped at present to influence the opposition against the Assad government than at any other point in Syria’s modern history.

Over the last several decades, relationships between different tribes have been strengthened by the mutual difficulties that all Syrian tribesmen face, and by a shared bond of kinship and a common Arab-Bedouin heritage that differentiates tribesmen from the ruling Assad family that usurped the power of the Syrian Ba’ath Party. [1] The economic disaster facing tribal youth, combined with the political pressure that is constantly applied by the Assad government, caused Syrian tribes to look to each other for mutual help and support. The traditional vertical authority of the shaykhs over the rest of their tribesmen weakened over time, causing decision-making authority to extend beyond one person (or family) in a specific tribal lineage to mutually supporting individuals in a wider network of tribes. [2] Under coercion from the state, many tribal shaykhs were forced to leave their traditional areas to live quietly in Damascus or Aleppo, or left Syria entirely, becoming remote figures from the perspective of their tribesmen. Without revenues, they became unable to provide for the essential needs of their tribes, particularly during the most recent drought that began in 2003 and lasted through the rest of the decade.

Read the rest of this entry »

Iran News Round Up February 13, 2012

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Revolution Day Poster
Revolution Day Poster (Photo credit: gordontour)

A selection of the latest news stories and editorials published in Iranian news outlets, compiled by Ali Alfoneh, Ahmad Majidyar and Michael Rubin.  To receive this daily newsletter, please subscribe online.

  (E) = Article in English

Politics

  • The Islamic Republic celebrates the Revolution Day:
  • Hamid Rowhani, head of the Historical Studies Foundation, calls the Ahmadinejad group “the Hojjatiyeh Society,” a reference to the pre-revolutionary semi clandestine Hojjatiyeh Charitable Society banned by Grand Ayatollah Rouhollah Khomeini. Rowhani also accuses the Ahmadinejad group of believing in “the Satanic thesis that one must spread corruption to hasten the emergence of the Imam of the Era, and of expanding embezzlement, corruption, theft of public funds and moral and economic corruption.”
  • Ayatollah Mohi al-Din Haeri Shirazi, Assembly of Experts member, says that “the Mahdavi government [government of the 12th Imam of the Shi’a] in Iran began with the victory of the revolution…” Haeri Shirazi added that the Twelfth Imam remains hidden during this government, and “his deputy, His Holiness [Ali Khamenei] is in charge of the affairs.”

Diplomacy

  • Parliamentary Speaker Ali Larijani addresses the crowd in Mashhad on the occasion of the Revolution Day:
    • “I urge some regional states that were on Saddam’s side during the [Iran/Iraq] war and are now conspiring against the Iranian nation along with the United States to stop doing so, since the clemency of the Iranian nation towards them will not be repeated…” Larijani added that the regional countries should not follow the policies of the United States towards Iran hoping to find “burned ground,” and concluded: “If there is a conspiracy against our nation, it will spread to the entire region.”

Read the rest of this entry »

Factbox: Syria’s city of Hama, site of new assault

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Coat of arms of Syria -- the "Hawk of Qur...
Image via Wikipedia

Fri, 30 Dec, 2011

(Reuters) – Arab League monitors head to more cities in Syria on Thursday, including Hama which has a particular resonance to Syrians opposed to President Bashar al Assad‘s rule.

Here are some details about the city, the site of a bloody massacre in 1982:

* 1982:

— In the late 1970s and early 1980s, Syria’s Muslim Brotherhood sought to destabilize and unseat President Hafez al-Assad and his government through political assassinations and urban guerilla warfare. In February 1982, the Muslim Brotherhood ambushed government forces searching for dissidents in Hama.

— Syrian government forces attacked the city, razing the old quarters of Hama to crush the armed uprising by Brotherhood fighters who had taken refuge there.

— Estimates of the death toll in the three weeks of operations in Hama vary from 10,000 to more than 30,000 out of a population of 350,000. Syria then imprisoned much of the membership of the local Islamist group.

— Syrian human rights groups said women, children and the elderly were among those killed in the crackdown and thousands were forced to flee the city.

* 2011:

— Nearly 30 years on Hama demonstrators demanding Assad’s overthrow still revile the memory of his father, who died in 2000 after ruling Syria for three decades.

— In June, activists said Syrian forces killed at least 60 protesters in the city. Residents said security forces and snipers had fired on crowds of demonstrators. Read the rest of this entry »

Iran threatening to cut Hamas funds, arms supply if it flees Syria

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Iran had applied intense pressure to Hamas in an effort to persuade it not to leave Damascus, threatening even to cut off funds to the organization if it did so, Palestinian sources have told Haaretz.

The Iranian pressure also included an unprecedented ultimatum – namely, an explicit threat to stop supplying Hamas with arms and suspend the training of its military activists.

Ahmadinejad and Meshal - AP Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad and Hamas political leader Khaled Meshal.
Photo by: AP

According to the sources, Hamas is abandoning its headquarters in Syria and looking at other Arab states as an alternative location for its political command center. Hamas’ move comes despite intense Iranian pressure on the organization to refrain from relocating.

A Syrian opposition spokesman said recently that once Assad is toppled, his successors will have no intention of preserving the strategic alliance between Damascus, Tehran and Hezbollah.

According to the Palestinian sources, only “second and third-ranking” Hamas activists are leaving Damascus, while senior members of the organization’s political wing, headed by Khaled Meshal, are remaining in the Syrian capital. Read the rest of this entry »

Syria accepts Arab League plan ‘in principle’

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By the CNN Wire Staff
November 18, 2011 — Updated 1549 GMT (2349 HKT)
Pro-democracy protesters burn portraits of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad outside the Arab League headquarters in Cairo on November 12.
Pro-democracy protesters burn portraits of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad outside the Arab League headquarters in Cairo on November 12.

STORY HIGHLIGHTS
  • NEW: At least 17 are slain in Syria on Friday
  • Syria wants amendments to the Arab League protocol on observers
  • The Hawks of Damascus, a defector group, appears in a video
  • A no-fly zone is not up for discussion, the Turkish foreign minister says

Cairo (CNN) — Syria has accepted “in principle” an Arab League plan to permit 500 observers into the country to verify whether the regime has taken measures to protect civilians, a senior Arab diplomat said Friday.

Syria has requested amendments to the protocol before signing it, said the diplomat, who has knowledge of negotiations between the Arab League and Syria.

Arab League nations voted to suspend Syria from membership. But the league, which met in Rabat, Morocco, Wednesday, gave Damascus three days to implement a protocol to allow observers to enter the nation. Read the rest of this entry »